HSLDA’s Michael Farris to Heidi St. John: “We Are Standing With You”


By R.L. Stollar, HA Community Coordinator

Several days ago, the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) issued a statement on their involvement (or lack thereof) in allegations about a widespread cover-up of physical and sexual child abuse in the Christian homeschooling community. The child abuse is alleged to have involved the children and a relative of Paul and Gena Suarez, owners of the popular homeschool magazine The Old Schoolhouse.

HSLDA’s statement, which you can view in entirety here, was that “HSLDA does not get involved in conflicts between families or individuals” and their mission is “not to be the police force of the homeschooling movement.” In response, I pointed out that not only does The Old Schoolhouse remain an HSLDA-suggested resource promoted to HSLDA members at a special discounted rate, but HSLDA is currently sponsoring The Old Schoolhouse. In terms of finances, therefore, it’s not difficult to see why some people would believe HSLDA is taking sides.

Today, however, HSLDA founder Michael Farris made explicit at least one side he’s taking: Heidi St. John’s.

St. John has been accused of ignoring a request for help from Jenefer Igarashi — the mother of one of the alleged abuse victims — as well as playing a role in getting Igarashi blocked from a homeschool convention. St. John issued a statement regarding the allegations, which she publicly posted on her Facebook page yesterday. St. John alleges that she is “being slandered in such a way that it has become very obvious that the devil is mad” and has “been betrayed by people who claimed to be our friends.” (You can view an archived image of St. John’s Facebook post here.) Various homeschool leaders have shown or declared solidarity with St. John, including Chris Jeub (who has recently been accused of emotional and physical abuse by several of his children) and Tracy Klicka MacKillop (widow of the late Chris Klicka of HSLDA).

One of these leaders includes Michael Farris. Farris left the following comment on St. John’s post:

Screen Shot 2014-10-18 at 1.51.09 PM

Text is:

Heidi, the bottom line for the attacks on you, me, and others is this: We follow Christ without apology. If we would water down the Gospel (and say that it is one of many ways to God) or if we would say that the Bible’s moral absolutes are merely suggestions, then we would find acceptance. You are standing strong and we are standing with you.

Considering that all of the individuals who have brought abuse allegations against Paul and Gena Suarez of the Old Schoolhouse (and associated individuals like St. John) are outspoken Christians, it’s unclear why Farris suggests the attacks involve “watering down the Gospel.”

What is clear, however, is that HSLDA’s Michael Farris has made explicit that he’s taking St. John’s side in this situation.

10 thoughts on “HSLDA’s Michael Farris to Heidi St. John: “We Are Standing With You”

  1. Sheldon October 18, 2014 / 3:33 pm

    “…it’s unclear why Farris suggests the attacks involve “watering down the Gospel.”

    Because, you see, we are God’s divine representatives on earth, and any opposition to us has to be from the devil because we are True Christians © who won’t budge on The Truth © and give in to pressures from The World to water down or give up The Truth © /sarc


  2. Headless Unicorn Guy October 18, 2014 / 6:33 pm

    Considering that all of the individuals who have brought abuse allegations against Paul and Gena Suarez of the Old Schoolhouse (and associated individuals like St. John) are outspoken Christians, it’s unclear why Farris suggests the attacks involve “watering down the Gospel.”

    It’s clear to me. Cast your critics as Minions of Satan and it’s PROOF of your own Righteousness.

    And don’t forget PERSECUTION!!!!!!! “For all who live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer PERSECUTION…”
    Spin, Spin, Spin.


  3. Becca Irene October 18, 2014 / 7:44 pm

    Reblogged this on Becca's Tea Blog and commented:
    Michael Farris of HSLDA should give up Facebook for his own good. It doesn’t look good for the person running the campaigns for ‘Parental Rights Amendment’ and against the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child and the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to repeatedly defend and promote known child abusers. At some point, the other side – the side I support – is going to take notice and stop inviting him to testify before Senate committees.


  4. Teresa October 18, 2014 / 9:37 pm

    My take on Mikey’s comment:

    “Poor Martyred Us” is a subject that comes more naturally to him than “Why We’d Ignore the Sexual Abuse of a Child”.


  5. Ryan J. Knight October 19, 2014 / 9:30 am

    Reblogged this on and commented:
    Actually Michael Farris and Heidi St. John are the ones watering down the gospel because they are grinding the faces of their victims, and accusing them of being demonic for speaking out against the abuses committed against them that were subsequently covered up. In reality, that makes the conspirators not the victims the one who are demonic. Only the Devil tries to cast doubt on the righteous speaking against his machinations – not God.


  6. Timber St. James October 20, 2014 / 12:33 pm

    Michael Farris’ comment so clearly unrelated to reality (and so stereotypical) that I almost can’t believe it. So, child abuse victims are minions of Satan?

    Really, buddy?


  7. Mona P. October 22, 2014 / 1:04 pm

    Honestly, this is typical Heidi St. John. Everything has to somehow point back to her. She became a tiny part of this situation when she refused to listen/help, and instead attacked the victim. However, to hear her tell it, this whole thing is all about poor, pitiful Heidi. It’s completely ridiculous. There are other people in the world! Not everything revolves around her. She is not being viciously attacked by anyone. The focus should always be the victim. Not random other people who are drama crazy.


  8. (removed) October 23, 2014 / 11:55 pm

    (Comment removed at the request of the commenter.)


  9. (removed) October 24, 2014 / 1:42 am

    (Comment removed at the request of the commenter.)


  10. Kathryn June 2, 2015 / 8:31 pm

    I’m a Christian. I’m a mom. I have 2 young girls. My eldest is 9 and wants me to homeschool her. All of this is ridiculous.
    I’ve been in the home tutoring business for years and recommended homeschool groups to many people wanting to get into homeschool. I’m now ashamed I ever recommended any of it.
    I love children and I love education, however I have never been so ashamed of it in my life. As a mother, this whole thing is just, well, icky (for lack of a better word), but as an educator, it’s shameful to see all of you bickering back and forth.
    It’s obvious to me that the Suarez family is highly disturbed and have used their high position to shield KNOWN & PROVEN sex offenders. I will never again be able to trust any so called ‘christian’ home school organization.
    I firmly believe it’s impossible to separate education and religion. They are one and the same. I have my religion, which I have never, and will never, say is superior to any other religion. I believe God made each one of us as individuals therefore each religion holds truth that will speak to you and it is our responsibility as educators and as parents to accept our students’ truth as they see it and guide them down a path of knowledge and truth for them to seek and decide for themselves exactly what their truth means to them.
    The issue of sexual abuse adds in such pain to any child and their family. If the parents and the homeschool leaders do NOTHING to help the victim, how is that victim supposed to live through their entire life? How does a cover up or simple “brush it under the rug” policy going to help any situation?
    I don’t care who you are. If a child is hurting, it is your RESPONSIbILITY to help that child. If the parents refuse to acknowledge the problem, ANYONE WITH KNOWLEDGE OR PROOF MUST MUST MUST be as annoying as possible until the CHILD VICTIM is finally heard and helped.
    So there is all this proof. And there are all these accusations. I don’t care who supports who or who endorses or doesn’t break off with who ever. WE ARE LOSING- WE ARE ALL LOSING! we are losing our humanity. We are losing our faith. We are losing perspective. We are losing the initial reason and love that drove the homeschool movement. We are LOSING OUR CHILDREN!
    And it is all OUR FAULT. We are the adults and we are failing the most basic need our children are silently crying for- they need our love, loyalty, support, help, and voice. Adults have options here. THE CHILDREN HAVE NO CHOICE!
    My choice from here on out is to choose my child. I choose to help my daughters. I choose to help all of my students. I choose to help all of the children I possibly can. And the best way to choose them? It’s to COMPLETELY AVOID THE PEOPLE WE KNOW ARE WRONG. I feel for the families involved on all sides. But they, too, are overshadowing the victims.
    Dear Lord, PLEASE help these people SEE the children in this.
    Heidi St John and HSLDA are changing the picture. The Suarez family is changing the picture. THE PICTURE IS SIMPLE: abused children, regardless of race, religion, sex, or anything, NEED THE ADULTS TO GROW UP and help the ones who cannot help themselves.
    As a parent or educator, the way forward is simple. Do what God has told us to do. Love the children. Speak up for those who can’t. Help people who need it. Ignore the pettiness of squabbles that take center stage and SEE the child huddled in the corner who doesn’t know what to do.
    This entire mess has grown (which is good to get more people aware of the situation) BUT IT HAS BECOME its own monster and it has overshadowed the victims.
    I’m terrified of CPS just like all parents. But THIS is the reason CPS exists.
    Take the proof to CPS. Take the proof to any domestic violence shelter. Take the proof to the doctor. Show the proof to as many “required reporters” as possible. Even if the statute of limitations is up (which I find equally shameful) keep bringing the proof to people’s attention.
    In the end, we will all face Him. He knows the truth of all. He knows the hearts and intentions of all. He will ensure the correct judgement, in the end.
    The 80 years we get on earth is a drop in the bucket. But those 80 years dictate our eternal home. To stay silent, ignorant, or docile does nothing but allow these people to get away with what is happening.
    I call for a full ban on ALL PEOPLE AND ORGANIZATIONS INVOLVED IN THIS EVIL CYCLE. Remove the money, and they will fall. Satan has allowed this to go on and on and on. He wants to see us bicker about whose at fault and who did or did not do whatever. He wants to see evil build so it can flourish.
    He wants us to forget about the victims.
    Yes, I went there. Satan wants us to get caught up in legalities and forget the reason we wanted to homeschool in the first place- to teach love and acceptance and protect our children. Please don’t let Satan win. God gave Satan control and influence on our everyday lives. Its our job to limit Satan’s involvement in our lives. And especially Satan’s influence in our children’s lives.
    The only way to do that is to listen to and believe and accept our children. To make sure they are heard.
    Remove yourself from anything dealing with these evil people who have done nothing to aid the children and focus instead on the true goal. If you don’t KNOW the true goal, maybe it’s time for you to put your child in public school where these things are reported and taken care of all the time (it’s not perfect, but public school teachers are not ignored by CPS).
    Sorry for the huge rant, but someone has to say something- speak out for the victims. Don’t give the perpetrators any more air time. Don’t give them any more thought or money. Reserve your energy and resources and support for the children and the victims.
    Whew… I’ve said my piece. I will no longer stay silent. EVERY CHILD DESERVES A GREAT COMPLETE EDUCATION AND EVERY EVERY EVERY CHILD DESERVES. TO BE SAFE AND TO SIMPLY BE A CHILD! We fail each time a child is forgotten. Please don’t forget. Stand up and speak or post. Stand up because the children need to see you standing up since they are hiding ashamed and beaten in a corner. If they see you stand, they will finally see hope. They will finally see faith and hope and love.
    If I could, I would take each child and tell them (from the movie ‘ the help’) you are kind. you are smart. You are strong. You are beautiful. You are loved- by God and by me. at the very least, I give you my love and my support and my trust. I believe you and you are not invisible


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